Tag archives: Ashleigh Brilliant

School Scars
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 9, 2024

From the ages 13 to 18, I went to school in Hendon, a London suburb. It was just after World War II, and in the field behind the school were several surface air-raid shelters; recent wartime relics which were now being used for storage. They were not locked. Once, when during a holiday I had […]

The Merry Middle
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 2, 2024

At a certain point between “Some Of” and “Too Much Of,” there comes a magic amount called “Just Enough.” You may remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If any part of it has stayed in your mind, it’s probably where Goldilocks tastes the Bears’ porridge and finds the Papa Bear’s “too hot” […]

Going Back
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 26, 2024

Most of us have probably had the experience of re-visiting a place we once knew well, and finding it changed in such a way as to tell us we don’t belong there anymore. Thomas Wolfe said it in the title of one of his novels – You Can’t Go Home Again. There is a word […]

Empires
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 19, 2024

In size and extent, the British Empire (even without the American colonies which it lost in 1776) was the greatest the world has ever known. It was usually colored red on world maps, and you could easily see, by looking at a globe, the truth of the expression, “The sun never sets on the British […]

Please Attract Me
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 12, 2024

Much of this system called Nature is apparently based on attraction and repulsion. The repulsion serves to protect – and to keep at least certain members of a species intact – until they have time to reproduce. The attraction is also part of that reproduction process. Most plants can’t physically get together, so some have […]

Sun and Suspension
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 5, 2024

So much depends on that big bright ball in the sky. And, in the cosmic scheme of things, our sun in turn depends on many other things. Truly, in the long run, everything depends on everything else. But where does that leave us? – Back where we started, with a burning ball up there, out […]

The Wonder of Under
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 27, 2024

You may have heard about the crazy theory some people have – that the entire Universe rests on the back of a gigantic turtle. A skeptical interviewer supposedly asked one such believer, “Then what is the turtle standing on – another turtle?” Back came the reply, “You can’t catch me there – It’s turtles all […]

Blessings On You
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 20, 2024

The idea of blessing – that is, asking God to have some favorable influence on someone or something, is probably as old as religion itself. In some religions, only certain people are authorized to pronounce certain blessings – but in general, in our culture, anybody may, without any special permission, bless any other person, or […]

Crossing Over
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 13, 2024

The River Jordan is celebrated in many “spiritual” songs. Most of us have heard lines like: Jordan river blessed but cold – Chills the body, but not the soul.  “Crossing Jordan” has long been seen as a metaphor for going to Heaven. It all goes back to the Biblical account of that River having to be […]

Cut It Out
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 6, 2024

One of the most famous of all historical events was the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. The killers were a group of men whom Caesar had considered his friends and supporters. The leader of this conspiracy, whose name was Brutus, is said to have been the last to deliver the fatal blow. And […]

Women and War
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 30, 2024

Although I have officially been a Doctor of Philosophy in American History for many years, it was only recently that I got interested in reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This came about through reading another book, Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking People, which makes a big point about how important the Uncle Tom book […]

Penalties
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 23, 2024

Although various religions teach that there is some kind of life after this one, a life in which there is more justice than prevails on Earth, we still like to feel that, even here, people tend to get what they deserve. In our legal codes, this is usually spelled out much less precisely in terms […]

Service
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 16, 2024

There is a wonderful expression you can use when you feel a friend is asking for an unwarranted amount of help from you: “WHAT DID YOUR LAST SERVANT DIE OF?” Unhappily, this humorous form of complaint was based on the true fact that at one time, a large portion of the population made their living […]

Radio and Me
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 9, 2024

In all the history of Technology, I know of no more exciting story than that of Guglielmo Marconi, the young Italian who discovered how to send messages, not by sight or sound, and not through wires, but through empty air. At first – i.e. from about 1895, and for many years after – the messages […]

Ins and Outs
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 2, 2024

As a general rule, it is always better to be In than Out. Of course, there are many obvious exceptions – Trouble, for example. But in most games, and certainly in politics, one would certainly prefer the status of “in.” One of the best places to be in is the mind, heart, or at least […]

Water works
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 26, 2023

I have always been surprised by how many people are willing to pay for bottled water when perfectly drinkable water, certified by local inspectors, is available from their own home faucets (which of course they already pay for as a public utility). Somehow, a very good selling job has been done by the bottled water industry […]

Last Things First
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 19, 2023

One of the saddest songs I know is called “The Last Time I saw Paris.” It came out in 1940, after France had been defeated, and Paris occupied, by the Nazis. Paris had been a favorite haunt of Americans. But the war was still going on (although the U.S. had not yet entered it) and […]

Duty
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 12, 2023

There are many different kinds of duty, but one thing they all have in common is a sense of obligation, which often attaches to a particular role or job. It can also be an amount owed to a government, or to some other authority, especially as a form of tax, in connection with imports and […]

The Ignorance Industry
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 5, 2023

In the mental economics of our species, there is a slow but steady demand for Information – but the market for Ignorance has become increasingly busy. The plain fact is that most people do not want the Truth. Why? Because it’s too inaccessible, too incomprehensible, and too likely to be unpleasant. Of course, you and […]

Machines Make the Scene
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 21, 2023

In this age of ever-advancing technology, we have become accustomed to non-human contrivances doing things which used to be done by humans (if they were done at all). Along with this, there has been the process of seeing everything in mechanical terms. Our bodies are machines; our homes (as Le Corbusier called them) are “machines […]